In the past, getting a DWI not only meant facing legal punishment, but having a DWI on your record followed those seeking gainful employment like a sticky dark cloud. Therefore, barring some sort of reduced charges and an offer of deferred adjudication, going to trial was almost guaranteed because the worst that could happen is one would end up with a DWI conviction on their record anyway. However, when H.B. 3016, signed by Governor Greg Abbott, went into effect in September of 2017, it marked a significant shift in hope for those facing their first DWI charge.
So, what is H.B. 3016? First, it is more commonly known as the “second chance” bill. Good people make mistakes, and no one is perfect. This bill will apply to those that learned from their mistakes. More specifically, this bill applies to a person that has been convicted of a first-time DWI with a BAC of less than .15 (nearly double the legal limit) are able to ask the court for a non-disclosure or sealing of the criminal record. Additionally, the “second chance” bill has a retroactive reach, meaning that it applies to offense both in the past and the future. This is big news for anyone with a first-time DWI, other certain misdemeanors, certain nonviolent offenses, or other low-level offenses. This would seal your criminal history off from nearly any potential employer.
In order for someone to be successful in their petition, they would need to meet the following criteria: (1) The petitioner must not have been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for another offense besides fine only traffic tickets; (2) Complete all requirements of the court; (3) have anything related to the matter paid for (court costs, fines, and restitution) and; (4) the waiting period has passed.
It is important to note that this “second chance” does not apply to second or third time offenders. It also doesn’t apply to first time offenders who injured others while being intoxicated. What this bill does do, however, is enables low-level nonviolent offenders and those who have received their first DWI to obtain employment and become a functioning, productive member of society.
If you think you may qualify for sealing your DWI history, contact us for a consultation. (830) 629-6955.